Perspectives This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Sins of indifference are dailycast from dry mounts. Meant to gently rest upon the callouspaths of uptown Chicago, they are too frequently caught fromthe embrace of the windy city by the offended ear of49-year-old Ken Tanley. A man who builds his dimensionlesslife around piles of indiscernible tree pulp, any remark ofwasted life or youthful success transmutes to daggers in theheart. His 30-year devotion to an accounting firm has left himwith an ulcer and the promise of another two dreary decadeswithin the corporate machine. With this the only promise leftto his barren existence, he tries vainly to climb up adownward moving escalator he calls the corporate ladder. It isa monotonous lifestyle of excessive work and coffee thatpermeates his essence and causes him to be late to a year 2000New Year's Eve party.

Ken penetrates a crowded barscene and orders a double just as Manhattan's ball begins tolower in a glowing blaze. His extremities dance to the beat ofthe roaring countdown as he sucks in his shot and searches fora familiar face. The ball has finally landed and an ungodlyuproar fills the room. Bells, whistles and horns rage on ascouples who have just married, or just met, give way to unholylust, and sin pours over the world in clouds too thick tobreathe. Suffocation isn't even tasted before a tremblingsweeps the earth.

Ken falls from his stool andclutches at the bar rail to keep from being trampled. Theworld melts. Sounds no longer only penetrate his ear; theybecome the world around him. In desperation he attempts tomove for the door but falls to the welcoming floor. In anothersecond his arms push through that floor and yield nothing.Trying to escape the crumbling floor becomes his sole reasonof survival. His panicked flight crashes him into more thanone bystander, knocking them into the opening abyss. Blindedby adrenaline, he continues to scramble - until he is stoppedby two powerful hands. They shake him until the glaze drainsfrom his eyes and he can see the chaos around him. Hordes ofbees have engulfed the multitudes. They swarm up from theground by the thousands, each bearing its own armor and theface of a man.

    Seekingcomfort, Ken looks to the man who has him in his grip. Mountedupon this man are ten horns upon seven heads and a smile withsuch venom that Ken's heart squeezes itself to a stop. Thebeast locks a stare with its foremost head and sinks the teethof a second head down the length of Ken's left arm. Somehowthe pain shocks his brain into an awareness of where he is -the battlefield of Armageddon. The ripping pain numbs, and thelights dim. A new light engulfs him. It has no color; and yetthe emotions that pulse through it fill it with every color ofthe rainbow. He feels no pain, but he has never been moreaware of every nerve in his body. He'd like to believe this ispeace, but there is none. This is death. That is all he knows,and it pulls him with such vengeance that he can'tresist.

*    *    *

Kenpenetrates a crowded bar scene and orders a double just asManhattan's ball begins to lower in a glowing blaze. Hisextremities dance to the beat of the roaring countdown as hesucks in his shot and searches for a familiar face. The ballhas finally landed and an ungodly uproar fills the room.Bells, whistles and horns rage on as the alcohol runs itscourse. Alex, a younger co-worker, spots him through thetangle of celebrating bodies and makes his way to thelost-looking man. Alex's step quickens as he sees Ken grimaceand fall to the floor. No one else seems to notice as theypound the dance floor, but a path quickly emerges as Kenbreaks into a flailing panic. Alex gently grabs hold of Ken'sarms and tries to bring him around with a few shakes and asmile, but Ken gains no refuge from his heartattack.

Afterthought:

We only know what weexperience; the rest is merely supposition. On top of that isan idea that only isolates us more: our experiences could varyone from another. Maybe the grass you call green would,through my eyes, appear the color you have come to call blue.Thus it becomes plausible that everyone has the same favoritecolor; it is just reflected to us in different objects. Allthis is to say that we only know what we experience, and epicworlds are occurring in the lives of our friends without ourknowing it, because we are not experiencing theirlives.

In this story I tried to show how one experiencecould be perceived by the one directly involved, and byobservers. None of us knows really happens in death. Somethingthat seems cut and dry could be much, much more; perhapsJudgment Day comes for us individually when we die, ratherthan at a certain date.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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